With free agency set to open at 4 p.m. on March 16, Steelers Nation Radio's Mike Prisuta, Dale Lolley and Matt Williamson provide their opinions on the greatest free agent signees in team history.
Matt's take ...
5. Kimo von Oelhoffen, DE/NT, 2000-2005: After playing against von Oelhoffen from 1994 to 1999, the Steelers decided that was enough of that and wanted to play with von Oelhoffen instead of against him. Not a traditional 3-4 nose tackle, one of the best things von Oelhoffen brought to the table for Pittsburgh in their odd front was his ability to play the nose or defensive end. At end, he was a rock against the run and often demanded double teams. And on the nose, von Oelhoffen brought more pass-rush than what was typical for that position. He had eight sacks in 2003. During his stint in Pittsburgh between 2000 and 2005, von Oelhoffen not only helped the Steelers win a Super Bowl, but he also missed just one game due to injury.
4. Jeff Hartings, C, 2001-2006: Coming out of Penn State, the Lions selected Hartings with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 1996 draft. Hartings played guard for Detroit for five seasons, but when he hit free agency in 2001, the Steelers saw their answer at center, a position that had an incredible tradition and history in Pittsburgh before Hartings arrived. While Hartings might not have been at the Mike Webster or Dermontti Dawson level as an all-time great pivotman, he was an exceptional player for Pittsburgh and one of the best centers in the league in the black and gold. He didn't miss a game between 2003 and 2005. A Pro Bowler in 2004 and 2005, Hartings was a rock of stability for the Steelers for six seasons before retiring after the 2006 season. He was Ben Roethlisberger's first center and certainly helped the young quarterback acclimate to the NFL.